Garage Sale Lessons

I took part in our Neighborhood Garage Sale this past weekend.  This was probably my fourth or fifth garage sale.  Here is what I have learned from the repeated experience:
  1. If you do it to make a lot of money, ha!  There are better ways to make some extra cash.  I totaled about $150 for 2 days of selling and numerous hours of prep.
  2. If you do it to sit around with a few girlfriends and chat and entertain each other’s kids, yes! 
  3. You can easily get rid of anything for FREE.  We tried to sell an old patio set for $10 over the course of the 2 days without success.  We dragged it to the end of the driveway at the end of the sale with a FREE sign on it and within a couple of hours it was GONE.  My husband was amazed.  Especially since we live at the end of a no-traffic street on a cul-de-sac.  I’ve learned that some man with a van always drives around at the end of the neighborhood sale…I assume he grabbed it, but missed the take in action.
  4. For me, knowing someone found something they needed/wanted fills my heart more than dumping something at Goodwill.  One woman is having her first two grandchildren this fall and she was very happy to buy my like-new extra-large square playpen.  I was also able to donate two bags of children’s clothes to Guatemala through a neighborhood effort at the end of the sale.  And I was able to off-load some kids stuff to a co-worker.  That made me feel better than the truckload of stuff I still took to Goodwill. 
  5. Some people are on a mad hunt for a particular item.  The garage sale die-hards.  This weekend it was a lady on the search for nativity scenes and another woman looking for buttons.  In the past I’ve seen a LOT of older men looking for “anything with a motor”.  We actually had someone PAY US for a broken chainsaw.
  6. There are also die-hard negotiators.  They bargain every penny.  I don’t mind a little negotiating, BUT I’ve found that some are so irritated if you won’t go down even lower on a price after minutes of back-and-forth numbers.  And when they finally settle? Then they pull out…wait for it…a FIFTY dollar bill.  Seriously?  Now you want $49.50 back on an item I was trying to get $2 for?  HA!  Fool me once last fall lady, but this time I got her with a refusal to budge.
  7. Many husbands are much more patient than mine.  I am amazed at how many husbands sit in a car at the end of a driveway while their wives shop the garage. 
  8. Most importantly…make more than you SPEND.  See Stella above…in a “police” car.  Yep, found that baby while putting up a Garage Sale sign on the main street.  The trip to put out the signs cost me $13 at 2 separate sales.  I’m a sucker for “new” used items.  And Henry needed that police car, right?  So what if the kid just started crawling last week.
Any Garage Sale stories out there?  Do you sell?  Or shop?

3 Responses to Garage Sale Lessons

  1. I try not to have them…ever. My mom used to have them twice a year and would try to sell the same stuff over and over. I guess I am allergic to them now.
    As for browsing and buying, I am a big fan!

  2. I’ve never had one. We donate to Goodwill. I’d like to hit some garage and estate sales, but I’m not willing to drag the kids along so it hasn’t happened.

  3. I don’t mind having them – wish me luck for mine on Saturday – especially when it does mean sitting in the garage with my mom/friends & chatting!

    As for shopping at them – LOVE! We found our dining room set at a yard sale and our kids playground at one too…totaling less than $500 for both…you can’t beat that! I also love the treasure hunt-I have yet to find the $5 picture that’s actually worth $500K (but I will still try).

    For me, what doesn’t sell gets donated to the Vets (I let them come and pick up so I don’t have to haul the junk/treasures)

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